“Words … are full of echoes, of memories, of associations—naturally. They have been out and about, on people's lips, in their houses, in the streets, in the fields, for so many centuries. And that is one of the chief difficulties in writing them today—that they are so stored with meanings, with memories, that they have contracted so many famous marriages … How can we combine the old words in new orders so that they survive, so that they create beauty, so that they tell the truth? That is the question. And the person who could answer that question would deserve whatever crown of glory the world has to offer. Think what it would mean if you could teach, if you could learn, the art of writing”.
– Virginia Woolf, “Craftmanship.”
For the fourteenth week of TORCH Goes Digital, we focused on the theme of “Writing”. We had a wealth of content from TORCH researchers and collaborators to showcase, and were delighted with a number of content submissions for the week.
Popular content included A Genre in Crisis: The Novel in 1940s France, Patience Agbabi Reading and Conversation, and Negroland, A Memoir, by Margo Jefferson.
We highlighted two Book at Lunchtime discussions: Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life, and Making Oscar Wilde. The former discussion celebrated the publication of Jonathan Bate's new biography Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life, and we were joined by a distinguished panel to discuss life-writing, poetry and the poet.
The second discussion featured the author Michele Mendelssohn, literary critic and cultural historian, Dr Sos Eltis (Brasenose, Oxford), Dr Charles Foster (Green Templeton, Oxford), Chaired by Professor Dame Hermione Lee (Wolfson, Oxford). Combining new evidence and gripping cultural history, Michele Mendelssohn dramatizes Wilde's rise, fall, and resurrection as part of a spectacular transatlantic pageant.
On the evening of Thursday 25th June, TORCH was delighted to support the English Faculty to host the Professor of Poetry Lecture. Tears were apparently given to humans as compensation for the Fall - from Homer to contemporary drawings. In this lecture, Professor of Poetry Alice Oswald examined the strange connection between water and grief.